Restaurant Law Blog

Sunday, October 7, 2012

New Trend - Ex-Employees Using Social Media To Retaliate Against Former Employers

Some former employees of Juventino Restaurant in Park Slope have taken to the internet to lambaste management for sexual harassment they claim occurred while they were employed. Through their new website "Juventino Disclosed" Staffers are hoping to "bring awareness to sexual harassment in the restaurant industry and maybe deter some prospective customers in the process." Some readers have left comments on the website promising not to frequent the establishment in support of the ex-employees. Undeniably, social media is a powerful tool that can dramatically impact one’s business in a good way, or in this case, a bad way. But is it ethical or for that matter legal? Can restaurant owners protect themselves from this sort of backlash? Can they file a defamation suit against their employees the way that the owners of Bar Veloce have? Unfortunately, each situation must be handled on a case by case basis, so before you do anything to defend or retaliate, seek legal advice.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") describes sexual harassment as:

"unwelcome, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which affects and individuals employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment."

According to the EEOC: claims of sexual harassment accounted for 75% of over 400 discrimination suits filed in November of 2011 alone, of which 37% of which, involved the food service industry.

 


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